In my opinion, marriage is truly two souls existing without barriers to one another. The reason I say souls is because I now believe that before committing yourself to a woman, you should have no problems barring everything. In addition, major skeletons should be out of the closet so that the couple can enter into a marriage on a clean and honest slate. By doing the following things, you can find yourself doing the right things to maintain a healthy partnership such as providing one with affection, loyalty, intimacy, truthfulness, acts of endearment and respect.
The attachment we have towards our woman should make us want to know their every thought so that we have a desire to make things easier for them by supporting them in any way possible. But this requires us to push our ego to the side. We as men must learn to be thoughtful and considerate to the feelings and expectations that women uphold.
I have witnessed many men my age ending relationships over ego versus to look at the bigger picture and say “is this one incident of me choosing not to understand and compromise worth losing my whole relationship.”
Divorce as a wake up call to the reality of marriage
My view of marriage drastically changed after getting a divorce. I learned that marriage is not something that anyone should take lightly or view it as a rite of passage into adulthood. Throughout the hardship of the divorce process I have learned the following points:
You should really spend time in premarital therapy. Therapy reveals rooted behaviors that allows you to truly get to know the person that you are with.
During your marriage you should strive for a balance of individuality and attachment. It is very easy to radically tilt one way or another, but a great balance would be making time for friends and family as well as alone-time and date nights.
Always go on dates and never stop dating or courting your woman!!! It not only makes her feel special, but it keeps you on your toes so that you will never get too comfortable.
Never get comfortable. That goes for both parties. I see many relationships go stale after attempting to reinvigorate them via marriage. It is important that you keep the chase alive, be creative, learn your woman, ask for advice, and think of thoughful ways to spice things up!
I’ve often heard the saying, “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.” But I have come up with my own motto. “The grass is greener where you choose to water and closely care for it.” Your marriage is truly what you make it. There needs to be a shift and a balance on how a marriage should be maintained. Sometimes your role for that season in the relationship will not be glamorous due to long hours at work, schooling and more. But, Chris rock said it best. “Play your tambourine.” It is not the most glamorous instrument, but if that is what you have to do to make the band sound amazing, play it the best way you can! This is why I don’t believe the length of time in a relationship determines the a successful marriage. Simply stated. “What you put into it, you get out.” Although return on the investment may not be immediate, but if you learn to work with what you have it will be worth it! So why not put your full energy into making your relationship great so you can have a wonderful time with the person you love?”
Despite what society may say, there are black men in this world who are being raised to be husbands and fathers. However, certain traits that we grow to posses needs to be let go of such as:
- The Ego
- The hip-hop mentality of juggling multiple women or rationalizing
- The “I’m a man (nigga) at the end of the day, I need a variety of bodies, etc etc.
- The best one I’ve heard yet was, “I hold ish down for my family, I work hard, there is nothing wrong with having a side piece.”
In order for us to truly move forward in support of being very capable and loving husbands, we have to extinguish the player mentality. I truly believe it still exists among some of us but just in different ways of rationalizing the cheating behavior. Unfortunately, I see a few black men that have found the formula to a successful marriage. And when I account for the bunch that I know, they all exhibit similar behaviors of selflessness, kindness, patience, caring, negotiating, compromising and discussing (versus arguing and being stubborn), and truly loving their partners – you know, the same behaviors that are exhibited during the courting phase of dating.
Going through a divorce?
For anyone going through a divorce, all hope and optimism should never be lost through the darkest of times you may be going through. Be accountable yet kind to yourself. The death of your marriage is not the ending to your life. Ashes laid upon soil followed by water provide great fertilizer for new life. There is light at the end of the tunnel through grace. Forgive yourselves and forgive your partner especially if you have children.
Only positive examples should be left for them. Moreover, both parents should give their children the opportunity to feel like each of them are their superhero’s without tarnishing or slander to their names. It is perfectly normal to feel like a failure or ashamed. But don’t dwell or live their too long. The grieving process for divorce is very similar to death due to the loss of the romantic and fully intimate relationship. Learn from every lesson as you reminisce about the good and the bad. But again, don’t live there. Someone else will benefit from the strengths you can bring to the new partnership. And believe me, they will appreciate it and show it. I truly feel that God sometimes replays the same scenarios in the form of different people in our lives to give us another chance of growing through a different approach. Take advantage of the lessons and put a positive foot forward to fully live with a partner that God intended.
I live by Tabula Rasa's clean slate theory. Give the new person an opportunity to fully know you and love you progressively and vice versa. After all, if you have determined that you are ready to date, you should be over or accept certain elements of your past and not bring that baggage to your present or your future. Your story or lesson may be inspirational to others and your future partner; as they are coming to the relationship with some potential elements that fit just perfectly with you. Truly try to get to a point of loving like you’ve never loved before. This gives the next person the full opportunity to love you for who you are. Not what you have been compromising or sacrificing. Which leads me to my next tip. Be honest with yourself and your new partner. Don’t say yes if you mean no. Don’t lead the person on or waste their time if they truly don’t merge with your being or spirit. Let them go so that they can appropriately “match with someone else.” Also, don’t lie to yourself, be completely honest with your feelings and where you see things going or if you even see things going anywhere. Failure to look pass your doubts will leave you to find yourself divorced or questioning “why did I get married?” down the road.
I do desire to be married but there was a point I told myself that I am never getting married again as a response to the stress of the divorce process.
After my outlook changed through taking time to love myself and move past unproductive thoughts, I progressively began to see more light. My days were brighter and I no longer felt the need to “chase women” for the need of feeling loved. This was a crash course of going on dates and frankly being told that I spoke too much about my past or overwhelmed the poor souls with my whole story on my first or second date. But as I began to truly take time to myself, read, write, travel, focus on being a great father, and better friend, I started to attract a new type of woman.
Don’t get me wrong, my ex-wife is a very strong, intelligent woman, and a great mom. But I started to attract women that were more aligned with my ideals, thoughts, principals, etc. I’ve even made some great friends of the opposite sex through venturing out on my own. I feel fully confident that I will be married again to a women that will be more equally yolked with me as I am to her. When I was younger, I found myself attracted to a physical body type of a woman. Now that I’ve been married and divorced, I am less shallow (if you will) and more open to the content of the book versus the cover. I’ve found that I am extremely attracted to intelligent conversations, career oriented or women that are passionate about their careers or ventures, most have been educated or extremely driven, financially and emotionally independent/intelligent (a man is nice to have but I don’t need one to survive) and nurturing (I have a son and you have to like him).
I truly hope this inspires us black men as well as women and couples. I truly hope my testimony and life experience serve as a positive example to at least one.
Thank you for reading.
Please feel free to email me at Denval.Lawrence@gmail.com if you have any questions or feedback.